The Spice Of Life: Immune-boosting Herbs And Spices
A strong immune system helps the body fight flu, bacteria, as well as disease-causing viruses. People with compromised immunity are more prone to falling sick and their symptoms for any disease are more severe as compared to others.
Here are some easily accessible immune-boosting herbs and spices that you should incorporate in your diets.
This knobby rhizome (a word meaning “mass of roots” in Ancient Greek) originated in Southeast Asia thousands of years ago. Ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target cold viruses. It also helps suppress coughing and soothes a sore, scratchy throat along with powerful pain-relieving properties. As it is high in gingerols, a substance with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, ginger can help lower the risk of infections and ginger extract can inhibit growth of some types of bacteria.
This vibrant yellow-orange root, also a rhizome and closely related to ginger has been used for medicinal purposes in India for more than 4,000 years. It is an integral part of Ayurveda and has been used to heal wounds, release mucus, repel insects, ease inflammation, and many other purposes. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric that gives it its characteristic orange-yellow colour, may help fight off infections and improve the overall health of your body’s cells. Consume turmeric for its immunity boosting properties. You can make a detox Turmeric Lemon Ginger tea to enjoy the combined benefits of turmeric and ginger.
This medicinal plant is easily available in all parts of the country. Tulsi is rich in phytonutrients (such as antioxidants, flavanol) chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals. It contains eugenol, a bioactive compound which has anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. A simple way to incorporate this herb in your diet is to chew a couple of tulsi leaves each morning or infuse them in your morning tea.
Methi seeds are widely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. They acts as a natural anti-oxidant and strengthens immune system. Herbal tea made with fenugreek, honey and lemon is a traditional remedy to manage the symptoms of fever.
This pungent bulb, a staple in most kitchens and a member of the onion family, is well-known for both its flavour and its numerous health benefits. One of its compounds called Allicin, released when garlic is cut or crushed, has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, even though this compound breaks down and loses its potency when exposed to high heat. Studies indicate that garlic can also help prevent colds and chest infections, particularly when eaten raw. It is also known to boost the function of the immune system.
This spice, commonly used in baking, comes from the bark of numerous varieties of evergreen trees that are part of the genus Cinnamomum. One of the active ingredients in cinnamon, called cinnamaldehyde, has antibacterial properties, which may help fight certain infections and viruses. Cinnamon is also high in immune-boosting antioxidants and can improve digestion.
Commonly known as the winter spice, clove is another big player when it comes to immune boosting herbs and spices. It is used in Ayurvedic remedies for cough and cold, and also works well to shield your body against infections. While you can use it in gravies, include it in making tea or flavoured hot water.
Dig into your kitchen and keep these spices and herbs handy to improve your immunity, the natural way. Remember, there is no single food that is a magic pill for a healthy body. Apart from including these herbs and spices in your diet, you must exercise both your body and your mind regularly, and make necessary lifestyle changes.
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